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The Bear and the Nightingale

(Winternight Trilogy #1)

by
4.13  ·  Rating details ·  54,382 Ratings  ·  9,161 Reviews
At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn't mind--she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse's fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid n ...more
Kindle Edition, 338 pages
Published January 10th 2017 by Del Rey
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Katherine Arden Hi Anne, Love that question. The Bear and the Nightingale is the first of three. The second one is being edited now; it is pretty much done. And yes!…moreHi Anne, Love that question. The Bear and the Nightingale is the first of three. The second one is being edited now; it is pretty much done. And yes! The three main characters in Book 2 are Vasya, her brother Sasha and her sister Olga. You will have lots of book 2 Sasha for sure. Thanks for reaching out. I'm so glad you enjoyed The Bear and the Nightingale! (less)
Katherine Arden So, Morozko is the name of the Russian Jack Frost, a winter demon who is sometimes benevolent and sometimes cruel. He features in multiple fairy…moreSo, Morozko is the name of the Russian Jack Frost, a winter demon who is sometimes benevolent and sometimes cruel. He features in multiple fairy tales. What I found interesting about this character though is he has his mythical roots in slavic paganism, as a dark god of winter and death called Chernobog. He evolved over the years from a pretty powerful deity to sort of a wicked fairy-tale creature, and finally (after some European influence) to Ded Moroz, the Russian Father Christmas. I found this journey (from wicked pagan god to giver of treats to children) absolutely fascinating, and I wondered what would go through such a character's mind as he was making that transition over the centuries. Anyway. Um, do Russians know of their pagan past? I certainly can't speak for the country as a whole. I know there are historians and casual enthusiasts who know a great deal about it, and there are definitely practicing pagans in Russia today. I would venture to say that the average Russian knows more fairy tales and fairy tale characters than they do Slavic deities and practices. If that helps :)(less)
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Emily May
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful, pastoral fairy tale set in a fantasy version of medieval Russia.

Narrated in lyrical prose and third-person past tense, Arden weaves a tale no less compelling for its slow, gradual development. Like all the best fairy tales, the author draws on the setting - a village in the northern woods of Rus' - to create an atmosphere that promises magic and suggests many horrors.

Atmosphere is the key word here: The Bear and the Nightingale captures that feeling of uncertainty and superstition
...more
Melanie
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melanie by: Emily


“Tell the story of Frost, Dunyashka. Tell us of the frost-demon, the winter-king Karachun.”

This book is magical. This book is whimsical. This book is one of the best things I’ve read in my entire life. I loved this with every bone, every red blood cell, every molecule in my body. This book was nothing short of perfection, and I’m sorry to gush, but I never expected this story to captivate me the way it did.

“In Russian, Frost was called Morozko, the demon of winter. But long ago, the peopl
...more
Em (RunawayWithDreamthieves)
There’s a weirdly intense spot in my heart occupied by so much love and appreciation for lushly written magical tales imbued with the feel of centuries-old fairy tales. There’s just something extremely entrancing about this breed of fantasy that delves deep into the origins of storytelling and employs the stone foundation of fairytales to tell a story that is at once comforting and familiar as well as subversive, vibrant and new.

This book shares the same DNA as Naomi Novik’s marvelously brillian
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Mischenko
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To see this review and Q&A with the author, please visit www.readrantrockandroll.com

Words cannot describe how much I cherish this book. The characters were described so well and the story was absolutely fantastic and so magical. ♡♡♡

Certain parts of the story felt so nostalgic to me. It reminded me of my upbringing with my Russian grandmother and our old Orthodox Church. Matyushka, Batyushka and many of the other words in the story evoked a glimpse into my past. There wasn’t anything I didn’
...more
Elise (TheBookishActress)
“All my life,” she said, “I have been told ‘go’ and ‘come.’ I am told how I will live, and I am told how I must die. I must be a man’s servant and a mare for his pleasure, or I must hide myself behind walls and surrender my flesh to a cold, silent god. I would walk into the jaws of hell itself, if it were a path of my own choosing. I would rather die tomorrow in the forest than live a hundred years of the life appointed me.”

So this was... unexpectedly amazing. Somehow, I went into this thin
...more
Robin Hobb
Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just finished reading an ARC of this forthcoming book. You will have to wait until 201 to get your hands on it.

First, a metaphor. Have you ever been about to eat something, thinking it's flavored with vanilla and cinnamon? Then you bite into it and discover ginger and nutmeg (also favorites of mine.)

This book is a bit like that. It's fantasy. Okay, I've read lots of that. It's told rather like a fairy tale. Okay, ready for that.

It's told a bit like a Russian fairy tale only the setting is very
...more
Paromjit
Dec 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, netgalley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
karen
Jun 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
oooh, goodreads choice awards semifinalist for best fantasy AND debut goodreads author! what will happen?

this is a stunning debut that perfectly mimics the tone of a classic fairytale, but breathes new and exciting life into the familiar themes with lyrical writing, strong characters, and by weaving in elements of russian folklore, which were mostly unfamiliar to me, and therefore fresh and exotic.

quickplot first, then i will return to these three strengths in greater detail.

pyotr vladimirovich
...more
Candace
Hmm... I'm at a loss with this one. I can't say that I loved it, but I didn't dislike it either. I feel like I'm missing something. This is a story that I should probably go back and re-read at a time when I can give it my full attention...but I didn't feel a strong enough connection the first time around to make me want to do that.

When I listen to an audiobook, I'm usually doing something else that requires part of my attention (i.e. driving). For this reason, I try to keep my audiobook select
...more
Lola
Dec 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lola by: Liz
Shelves: fantasy, adult, religion
This is the perfect book to read during wintertime, when there is snow falling from the sky and everything feels like magic.

Because this is such a magical and atmospheric book. I am glad the sequel just came out, since I could not see myself reading it under different weather conditions.

I knew close to nothing about Russian culture and folklore, so this was my introduction to the latter. Actually, I had heard of Ivan and Baba Yaga – but that is all and I was ashamed of myself, therefore I am ha
...more
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Very unpopular opinion time because it seems everyone in the world loves this book :-/

I liked certain things about the book but overall it wasn't for me. Don't know if it was the book or my mood but I'm glad there are so many people loving it.

I liked the characters enough and the storyline for the most part but I don't know. Sigh ...
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
4.5 stars! Review first posted on Fantasy Literature:

In the northern lands of medieval Rus’, a daughter is born to Pyotr Vladimirovich, a boyar, lord over many lands, and his wife Marina, who dies in childbirth. But Marina, daughter of the Grand Prince of Moscow and a mysterious, swan-like beggar girl, has bequeathed her daughter Vasilisa a mystical heritage.

description
Vasilisa the Brave (or Beautiful)

Vasilisa, or Vasya, grows up to be a spirited and rather rebellious young girl who, like an untamed colt,
...more
jessica
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
enchanting is really the only way to describe this book. this was the type of story that makes you want to go back to being a child who unconditionally believed in magic and wishes and the possibility of all things.

some might say this story was too slow, but i prefer to think of it as being patient. others might complain that there was no plot, but i saw it as being humble. and some could claim the writing was stiff, but i felt the language embodied the frigidity of long russian winters. everyt
...more
Amalia Gavea
‘’Fairy tales are sweet on winter nights, nothing more.’’

Russian fairy tales are unlike any others, in my opinion.They are not simple, ‘’happily-ever-after’’ myths, but wonderfully detailed glimpses in the daily lives of people born in times gone-by and tales that hide themes that are relevant to our era. They contain female heroines that surpass inexplicable odds and many have ambiguous closures. There is a sadness that permeates the Russian fairy tale tradition and a fierceness, a strangely
...more
Miranda Reads
Haunting. Riveting. Entrancing.

This is the sort of book that sweeps you on a journey .
"I want to save you, Vasilisa Petrovna," he said. "I will save you all. There are dark forces that you do not understand."

To his surprise, and perhaps to her, she laughed.
Vasilisa "Vasya" Petrovna lives during the "old Russia" - back when fairy and folk tales were not legends.

Vasya always possessed the second sight, which made for some interesting conversations with the various creatures living in and
...more
Elyse Walters
Nov 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Wow.....*Stunning*!!!!
Katherine Arden's lush and lovely debut novel deftly transports us to Russia in the 14th century with incredible lyricism- scents-sounds-vivid beauty-subtle intrigue- and gorgeous Russian folklore.

At the start Marina is frail and weak. She has 4 children and is pregnant with her 5th. Pyotr, her husband, and Dunya, her devoted nurse, both beg Marina not to keep the baby. They are fearful she will die. Marina had given Pyotr 3 sons and 1 daughter....but she was still hoping-
...more
Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads-no-more
12/30/17 - TODAY ONLY! ON SALE for $2.99:



http://amzn.to/2EiufLU

Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

3.5 stars

I added another new bookshelf to Goodreads: religious nutters

I preface my review with that statement, b/c it's important that you know exactly how off-putting I find anyone who uses religion as a crutch to excuse their abominable behavior.

Agamemnon sacrificing his daughter to ensure favorable winds as he sails to Troy? Kill him on his own alter. Spanish Inquisitioners torturing anyone not Catholic f
...more
Maureen
Oct 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Magical is the word that best describes this unusual tale, in every sense. I have to say that I've not read anything quite like this one, but believe me, that IS meant as a compliment.

It transports the reader back to medieval Russia, to a place thick with forests and deep crisp glistening snow. It is here that we find Vasya, and her family. Vasya is a child of nature, a wild and wilful girl. She has powers that leave the villagers questioning the nature of those powers, many believing that she's
...more
Nick
Sep 18, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This looks like a perfect winter read. I will save it for Christmas.
Hannah
Nov 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, fantasy, loved-it
Do you know that fuzzy feeling when you find a book with a world so immersive that you don't want it to ever end? This was a book like that for me. I absolutely adored it - and I am not quite sure if this review will at all be coherent, but I'll try my best.

This was a book that I was super super excited to get to read early. I love books set in Russia, especially the North of Russia; I love Fairy Tales; I love the books the blurb compared it to. I only wanted to read the first chapter because I
...more
Mohammed Arabey
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mohammed by: Julia Carlton
مع برودة شتاء بداية العام القارص..نبدأ بحكاية عجيبة من أواخر العصور الوسطي بروسيا

بين غزوات التتار، المد التبشيري المسيحي وبدء التطير من المعتقدات الشعبية الروسية القديمة كالجان الخرافية الحارسة للبيوت والغابات،الحوريات، الساحرات وعفريت الصقيع

كل هذا بقصة واحدة، دراما إجتماعية، فلكلور، فانتازي..ورعب

القصة غريبة، تبدو بالبداية كدراما عائلية بقرية بشمال روسيا في القرن الرابع عشر، تتخللها جوانب سياسية عن الامراء الحكام بالكرملين بموسكو ولعبة عروشهم، و القلق من التتار المغيرين من أقصي الشرق

وبنفس الوقت
...more
Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen)
4 Stars

“I gave everything for you, Vasilisa Petrovna.”
“Not everything,” said Vasya. “Since clearly your pride is intact, as well as your illusions.”


Borrowing heavily from Russia for its winter setting and mythology, this debut focuses on Vasya, and her ability to see the spirits surrounding her small town. While both have always lived together peacefully, a new religious movement disbands practices honoring such spirits, upsetting the balance. This was a buddy read with these two awesome pee
...more
Philip
4ish stars.

I was ready to write this off pretty early. The first 25% or so gave me nightmare flashbacks to reading Uprooted (don't judge) and I was about to toss this on my "not for me" shelf and be done with it. Gladly the remaining 75% did a great job of changing my mind.

While I tend not to be a fan of the impersonal, sparse (although often lovely) narration used to tell fairy tales and mythology, I found that Arden used it to great effect here. Vasya, in critical danger of reaching special s
...more
Cheri

!! NOW AVAILABLE !!

In northern Rus’ the family of Pyotr Vladimirovich are waiting out the last days and nights of winter, with rapidly dwindling food supplies gathered before the winter snows began. Marina, his wife, tells him that she is with child.

Pyotr is not happy, fearful for her life. She is already physically weak. Marina had wanted another daughter, although they’d already have three sons and a daughter. She’s determined to carry this child to term, sure that this girl child will carry
...more
❄️Nani❄️
Set in a Fantasy-esque Medieval Russia with Russian folklore, this was supposed to be my jam. It should have been.
It started out well and somewhere down the line, in the last third part of the book particularly, I... simply lost interest.
Oh, well.
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars

"Am I a child? Always someone else must decide for me. But this I will decide for myself."

The Bear and the Nightingale is a wonderfully atmospheric story with a definite origin in the Slavic folktales. From the very beginning, we can feel how the story takes root in the classic fairy tale formula.

Independent protagonist? Check. Concerned Father/siblings? Check. Evil stepmother? Check. Affinity for nature? Check. Magical forest? Check.

However, none of these character desig
...more
Diane S ☔
Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Medieval Russia, though it is called only Rus, Russia not yet an entity, the fourteenth century, and a young woman who has inherited the sight of her Royal ancestor. Exquisitely written, brilliant and evocative imagery, fully fleshed characters and a fantastic rendering of the history of this time period, seamlessly woven with the myths and folklore of Russian lore. The first half, the cold, what can be seen by a few but not by most of the ancient creatures that guard the homes forest, the horse ...more
Norma * Traveling Sister
This was another fantasy novel that I thought was absolutely wonderful!  I definitely lost myself in this richly entertaining Russian folklore tale.  I was extremely excited to read this one after seeing some early reviews of this book and I was not disappointed!  I totally loved the magical journey that this book took me on!  
 
THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE by KATHERINE ARDEN is an extraordinary, magical, spellbinding, and captivating tale that transported me right into Russia in the 14th century
...more
James
3 out of 5 stars to The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, the first in a fantasy and historical fiction series about Russian fairy tales.

Why This Book
I ordered this online many months ago based on the description I'd read in Goodreads. Then a friend of mine, Valerie, was planning to read it. We decided to do a buddy read together earlier this month.

Plot, Characters & Setting
A Russian girl loses her mother and her place in a family. She meets strange creatures who no one el
...more
Sh3llraiser (grumpybookgrrrl)
Ahhh, it's only $1.99 right now. Go get it, quick! (May 17, 2018 US Amazon)

So, there are tons of reviews for this already. I guess here is another one. It’s hard to believe this was the author’s debut because this was an exceptional book. The story takes place in a re-imagined historical Russia. Way back when people left bits of bread and milk for the household spirits and believed supernatural beings controlled the weather and lived in trees and water.

A woman descended from witches finally has
...more
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A note to everyone who trips and falls upon my Goodreads page. First, welcome. Let us read and discuss all the books together. Second, Goodreads is wondrous, but contacting me through my Goodreads DMs is a good way to ensure a long wait for a reply. Your best bet is Twitter or Instagram (arden_katherine) on both.

Happy reading.

Born in Texas, Katherine studied French and Russian at Middlebury Coll
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Other books in the series

Winternight Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Girl in the Tower (Winternight Trilogy, #2)
  • The Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy, #3)
“All my life,” she said, “I have been told ‘go’ and ‘come.’ I am told how I will live, and I am told how I must die. I must be a man’s servant and a mare for his pleasure, or I must hide myself behind walls and surrender my flesh to a cold, silent god. I would walk into the jaws of hell itself, if it were a path of my own choosing. I would rather die tomorrow in the forest than live a hundred years of the life appointed me.” 157 likes
“Nothing changes, Vasya. Things are, or they are not. Magic is forgetting that something ever was other than as you willed it.” 79 likes
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